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Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band

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Biography

Dennis Coffey (born in Detroit, Michigan) is an American guitarist, notable as a prominent studio musician for many soul and R&B recordings.

Coffey learned to play guitar when he was 13 in Ontonagon County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At 15 he played on his first record session backing Vic Gallon on “I’m Gone” on the Gondola label. In the early 1960s he joined The Royaltones who had had hits with “Poor Boy” in 1958 and “Flamingo Express” in 1961. The Royaltones played sessions with other artists including Del Shannon.

As a member of the Funk Brothers studio band, Coffey played on dozens of recordings for Motown Records, and introduced the wah-wah guitar sound to Motown producer Norman Whitfield’s recordings. He also played on Edwin Starr’s “S.O.S. (Stop Her on Sight),” The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing”, and Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold”. In addition, Coffey scored the blaxploitation film Black Belt Jones.

In 1971, Coffey recorded Scorpio which was a million selling single and in 1972 Taurus, both with The Detroit Guitar Band. Since then, he has recorded several solo albums, most of them for the Sussex and Westbound labels. In 2004, he published a memoir, Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars.

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